Do squirrels speak Spanish?
Or, perhaps more importantly, do the people of Colombia, South America, speak Squirrel?
The answer, most assuredly, is "Si."
During a monthlong visit to that country, my friends Rich and Luis traveled, visited Luis' family, and took pictures of everything - squirrels included. Apparently, the South American nation that practically deifies the humble java bean also apparently gives an admiring nod to the bushytailed denizens of their trees.
Squirrels get their name, or at least their profile, in lights during the Christmas season, and Rich was thoughtful enough to capture this image of a Christmas squirrel before the glowing rodent clambered up a holiday lightpole where, no doubt, he was building a nest made entirely of incandescent lights and LEDs strung together.
Then, on a visit to a place outside Medellin, they found a restaurant known as Pescadero Trucha Arco Iris (or "fishing place" for a type of rainbow fish) which was furnished with tables and chairs hand-painted by local artists. The chair pictured here would obviously be a place of honor for the squirrel-lovers among us. (It's not clear, however, whether that would obligate one to order something from the menu featuring acorns, nuts or berries.)
Squirrel decor, both indoor and out, can be downright chic. Imagine if the modern furniture designers, Charles and Ray Eames, had been rhapsodic over rodentia. Imagine if the evolving designs of Frank Lloyd Wright had gone through a "Chipmunk Phase."
It is encouraging to think that while some people view squirrels as pests, annoyances and even vermin, others see them as inspiration.
No matter what you call them - and in whatever language you speak their name - they can leave an image buried in your imagination long after you have seen one scamper across your path.
But then, they're good at burying things, aren't they?